News & Views
SINCE Hussain Haqqani’s article has been published in the Washington Post on March 10, a war of words has started between the PML-N and PPP leaders. They are blaming each other for having connection with Hussain Haqqani, what they call traitor. They appear to have woken up from slumber after six years, as he has said nothing new but repeated what he has been saying in the past. In his article under reference, Hussain Haqqani stated that he had facilitated presence of CIA operatives in Pakistan by acting under the authorization of PPP government, which helped track down Osama bin Ladin without the knowledge of Pakistani military. Anyhow, Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif on Wednesday proposed formation of a parliamentary commission to investigate into the claims made by Hussain Haqqani. Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah called Hussain Haqqani a traitor.
He welcomed the proposal for formation of the commission to probe his allegations, and said that the commission should also determine who called Osama Bin Ladin to Pakistan in the first place, who facilitated him, and who asked him for help. Though the commission’s report has not been made public, but Al Jazeera had published parts of the report. It is not know how it got the copy of the report. A resolute probe conducted by the Judicial Commission had concluded that it was authored by Hussain Haqqani former Pakistan ambassador to the US. The report confirmed that former Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani was not a trustworthy person and has been disloyal to the state. The sealed report presented by Memo Commission was read out to the apex court’s nine-member bench, and it was observed that the former ambassador was not loyal to the country.
The memo had accused then army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani of planning to bring down the government in the aftermath of the raid on Osama bin Laden on May 2. According to the leaked report, the worst part was the proposal in the memo which read: “The government will allow the US to propose names of officials to investigate bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan, facilitate American attempts to target militants like Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri and Taliban chief Mullah Omar, and allow the US greater oversight of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons”. In his book ‘Pakistan between Mosque and military’, he had denigrated Pakistan’s institutions and wrote many things to appease his masters. The book had analysed and traced the origins of the relationships between Islamist groups and military, thus disparaging Pakistan and its armed forces. He is shrewd and canny, and could do anything to appease his masters.
Anyhow, during Haqqani’s tenure as an ambassador approximately 3000 visas were issued to US officials/diplomats by Pakistan’s embassy in Washington between 14th July and December 31, 2010. Prior to authorization of Ambassador Haqqani by the Prime Minister on July 14, 2010, all visas to US diplomats used to be issued after approval from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also after clearance from security agencies. However, visas were issued to dubious US officials arbitrarily, who were suspected of being involved in espionage and other anti-state activities in Pakistan.
Haqqani was compulsive detractor of Pakistan and its institutions; yet he was pampered by the two main political parties of Pakistan. During an interview to NDTV on September 26, 2015, he ‘advised’ Pakistan to stop competing with India; and that Kashmir issue should not be linked with other issues. Having said that, a brief summary of Hussain Haqqani’s changing loyalties and changing goalposts would be appropriate to read his mind. Hussain Haqqani was once correspondent for Far Eastern Economic Review; then he was media advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Nawaz Sharif when Benazir Bhutto was Prime Minister of Pakistan during her first stint in 1988-1990. He had switched to serve caretaker Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi in 1990, and then switched back again to serve Nawaz Sharif when he was elected Prime Minister. He stooped so low as to use vulgar language for Bhutto family’s women folk.
In 1992, he was sent to Sri Lanka as Pakistan’s High Commissioner showing disregard to the merit. On the eve of Nawaz Sharif’s dismissal by the then president under 58-2(B) on 18 April 1993, he jumped out of the sinking ship and joined President Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s bandwagon. Immediately, he was rewarded and made special assistant to the caretaker Prime Minister Mir Balakh Sher Mazari with the rank of Minister of State. He was a turncoat having no parallel in at least Pakistan’s history. There is a perception that during his stint as Ambassador to the US he did not care for the prime minister and president of Pakistan. It was unfortunate that Hussain Haqqani was appointed as an ambassador to the US when everybody knew about his dubious character, and especially his views in his book titled ‘Pakistan between mosque and military’.
It was CIA that had trained Afghan jihadis, and after the Soviet forces were pushed out, the US left the region in a lurch. Anyhow, the firm positions that the Pakistan military leadership took on certain issues vis-à-vis Kerry-Lugar Law, Raymond Davis episode and particularly resistance to a military operation in North Waziristan, had put Washington in a huff, as it expected unarguably not defiance but obedience from Pakistan’s every state arm. The then chief of army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha had the spine to say ‘No’ to CIA’s dictates, which was the reason that the CIA had gone berserk, and strived every nerve to denigrate Pakistan’s military and premier intelligence agency. Attack on army headquarters in Rawalpindi and Mehran Base were part of the plan to demoralize military and to lower the prestige of armed forces in the eyes of people of Pakistan.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.